Publication details

The Problem of Ridicule in Henry Fielding´s Joseph Andrews



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Brno Studies in English
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Keywords satire; politeness; ridicule; decorum
Description Starting his career as a provocative dramatist, generally criticised for open political satire and indecency of his plays, Henry Fielding developed into one of the most prominent eighteenth-century novelist and had to work hard to build a reputation which would correspond with the newly developing sensibilities of the reading audiences. The article considers the transition in Fielding´s career in the context of changing demands on politeness in society and provides analysis of his first novel, Joseph Andrews, which links his technique of the true ridiculous to William Hogarth´s fight against sham values and Lord Shaftesbury´s idea of freedom of laughter. It also explains how this method helped Fielding create consciously ambiguous characters and make profound moral statements while keeping the possibility to entertain his readers through comedy.